Radu Floricica

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Upcoming heatwave: advice

I'd personally rewrite this article as a "get an AC unit, now!", with links to the cheapest brands that are worth it (probably any with an inverter), then add a few tips on using it. For example the cause of most issues is simply setting the temperature too low. In summer it's ok to put it on 25C, then "lose" the remote until autumn. Maybe lower when/where you sleep. Also it seems obvious to me, but for completeness' sake: don't install it where it blows on you often, and ideally not in the room you sleep. If you need to sleep with the door closed, then spend more than 5 minutes figuring out exactly how you want the airflow in that room. Some AC units come with a Night or Quiet mode - it's worth it in the bedroom. 

Then put the rest of the article as emergency measures until you can get an AC unit installed. 

Mildly Photochromic Lenses?

Be careful. Photochromics gave me (well, helped a lot in giving me) a horrible case of SAD. And when I mean horrible, it was way worse than moderate depression. 15 years later and I still have a habit of installing ridiculously powerful lightning everywhere just to make sure it never happens again. 

I go with magnetic clip-ons these days. I accept that I'll break/scratch/lose some, and just keep one in my back pocket and in my car.

Where's my magic sword?

The premise you may be missing is that it's a necessary thing to teach. It could be that common sense works in a supermajority of cases. If it was a car accident, it's likely an ambulance will be coming anyways. If they just have a cut finger, you disinfect, bandage and you're done - no need to pass them off. The edge cases where somebody makes a wrong call are probably pretty rare, all things considered. 

The Trolley Problem

Intuition is probably a proxy for all the negative externalities. You can't quickly think through all of them, but there's a feeling that harvesting organs from a (soon to be healthy) patient is a huge breach of trust, which is Wrong. Why is breach of trust wrong? Intellectual answer goes one way, and intuition goes the evolved way, which is "thou shalt dislike people who breach trust". 

What was my mistake evaluating risk in this situation?

The key moment was the realization that can spread easily.

We have much worse diseased by effect, like aids and ebola. Key thing is - we can limit the spread with moderate effort, even without vaccines. Once you could put together the belief that this one will not be contained, meant living in a different world and should have required adapting. At least internal.

Failing safely is the anomaly

This Scott Alexanders' review makes me very optimistic. I'm more and more convinced that our only superpower as a species is the ability to copy and adapt, rather than innate intelligence. We might be a lot more adaptable culturally than we give ourselves credit for. 

So if culture (and probably 20 IQ points due to better health and Flynn effect) can make the difference between Boko Haram and the Culture War in US, I'm hoping a handful of extra concepts can push us beyond that. We don't need a lot...

Scott said in another post that CBT lost its edge over the other therapy techniques because too much of it is already "in the water supply". Is it too much to hope that we can bring confirmation bias or attribution error in the water supply as well?

What are some triggers that prompt you to do a Fermi estimate, or to pull up a spreadsheet and make a simple/rough quantitative model?

I probably do basic sanity checks moderately often, just to see if something makes sense in context. But that's already intuition-level, almost. 

Last time I actually pulled an excel was when Taleb was against IQ and said its only use is to measure low IQ. I wanted to see if this could explain (very) large country differences. So I made a trivial model where you have parts of the population affected by various health issues that can drop the IQ by 10 points. And the answer was yes, if you actually have multiple causes and they stack up, you can end up with the incredibly low averages we see (in the 60s for some areas). 

It's an interesting example because on one hand it sounds trivial: you have shitty living conditions, you end up with shitty results. But on the other hand my mind didn't want to accept the end result of an under 80 average until I had the numbers in front of me. 

Maybe Antivirals aren’t a Useful Priority for Pandemics?

Antivirals, at the current level, can't extinguish a disease. They can at best drastically improve the outcome of individuals, but to do that you need to diagnose said individuals, make a cost-benefit judgement, put them on antivirals and wait for their contagiousness to drop. Compare this to prophylactics like vaccines, or even what an ivermectin / hydrochloride style drug might do. 

You don't really want to be 100% reactive to the disease. Assume you have the perfect antiviral, and every time somebody gets moderately sick they go to the local pharmacy, pay $1 and get better in 24 hours. This will still allow a new virus billions of hosts to spread and evolve, and you get Alpha, Delta, and god forbid an Omega variant. Old viruses have been playing this game with our immune system for millennia - we don't know how far a new virus might get if we give it room enough to evolve. Prophylactic solutions (no matter what their mechanism) work by cutting the spread along with disease severity, and by cutting spread you cut the possibility for the virus to evolve. 

What are some real life Inadequate Equilibria?

There's the large (huge?) category of market failure in politics, both local and national. 

Let's take the simplest example: long term projects. When the private market wants to invest in a very long term project, there are plenty of financial instruments that allow them. For example you can plant a slow growth forest, which takes 20+ years to mature. Then in several years you can sell bonds, or just sell the forest itself at a value proportional to the time left to maturation - to somebody that either wants to wait, or more likely is just looking for a medium term investment and also intends to sell it in a few years for a moderate profit. 

When a local administration wants to invest in a long term project - and by "long term" I mean a project where the benefits will be seen and collected in a few years - there is just no incentive structure to do that, because the elected officials are there for something like 4 years, maybe 8. After that most of them intend to use the quick results shown locally to move to a bigger scene. There is just no way they can start something now and collect (political) benefits partway. Except by the expenditure itself, instead of the results, which creates even more perverse incentives. 

SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott

https://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Peter-Gawker-Anatomy-Intrigue-ebook/dp/B07637TDJJ

Patience and discretion. And no point in targeting an individual.

For me personally this is the last straw in flipping an internal switch towards considering this kind of thing The Enemy. I'll take some time and introspection before I can define its identity in words, but so far it's pretty clear it'll NOT be "the left", and it will definitely include "cancel culture". Intuitively I already have a feel for it.

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